Headstash's MOUNTAIN JAM 2012 Review Guide
- By Cory Castelluccio
- Published on June 05, 2012
2012 Lineup: Steve Winwood, Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Lotus, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Roots, Ben Folds Five, The Word (ft. Robert Randolph, John Medeski, and the N. Miss. Allstars), Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Travelin’ McCourys w/ Keller Williams, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Dawes, Gary Clark Jr., Carolina Chocolate Drops, Givers, Charles Bradley, Mariachi El Bronx, Bustle In Your Hedgerow, EOTO, Anders Osborne, Sara Watkins, Zach Deputy, Break Science, Planet of the Abts, The Lee Boys, Marco Benevento, Wolf!, Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds, The Sheepdogs, The Brew, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Ground Up, Pedrito Martinez, Zee Avi, Aunt Martha, Kopecky Family Band, Lauren Shera, Uncle Lucius, Connor Kennedy Band, Nigel Hall Band, Simone Felice Band, American Babies, Caravan of Thieves, Matt Schofield, Delta Rae, Wyllys, Charlie Dane, Kelli Scarr
Friday began with sunshine and cool air, but slowly the clouds drew in and during the last minutes of Govt Mule's first set, the rain began and people were forced to take shelter in the lodge. The rain didn't stop until the next morning.
The paths became muddy and the sun never really came out on Saturday, so the air was chilled throughout the day. Toward the end of Mule's Saturday show, the fog began to roll over the hillside and the stage began to glow eerily dark.
The rain held off until just after noon on Sunday, but didn't last long. The clouds
stayed of course until Michael Franti brought sunshine to Mountain Jam. Too bad he didn’t play earlier in the festival!
Star of the show. Since Warren Haynes is the featured artist of the festival, a couple of the big moments surrounded him. Govt Mule's second set on Friday during the rain was intense and well worth the being uncomfortable
Haynes played right through his set break after a killer ending to the first set and kept the energy flowing as he tore apart the second half of his show.
It felt like he was controlling the weather all during the show. Highlights included “The End > Drums > The End” and the second encore. Most of the crowd had bailed on the show by the end, but it was truly a special treat.
Honoring a legend. The Levon Helm Tribute set brought out a respect and admiration for Warren Haynes that I had not felt before. He did The Band legend such justice that it nearly brought tears to my eyes.
"Ophelia" was played beautifully and when Haynes brought out a few more artists for "The Weight," I knew that it was going to be a heartfelt family jam. Almost everyone had their own little segment – there was even a tuba solo.
Back in the Fold.Ben Folds Five played their first formal show in 13 years over the weekend. The whole show is available through iClips for those interested parties. The whole crowd was singing and cheering throughout the performance and Ben Folds was playing so fiercely that he broke a wire in his piano.
Some highlights from the performance were their big 90s hit "Brick," which definitely had a few people in the crowd tearing up, and "Song For the Dumped" which is, according to Folds, lyrical gold.
At the end of their set the crowd continued to scream for more but Folds had trashed the keys to his piano by throwing his stool at it to end the show.
Sound and feel of sunshine. The vibe that the Michael Franti and Spearhead gets going through the crowd is magical. Everybody was smiling and cheering and laughing and yelling throughout. Franti played a song for his father who had just awoken from a three-week coma.
He also forced the sun to shine during the “The Sound of Sunshine." Franti left everyone with a positive feeling and beautiful weather. It was no surprise that there was suddenly a sun shower at the finale of his set, which in turn caused rainbows to
be visible across the mountain.
Sitting pretty. A non-musical highlight would have to be the porta-potties. Never have I seen them cleaned so often at a festival as I did at Mountain Jam.
A little help from my friends. Warren Haynes came out to play with as many bands as he could over the weekend. The guy really gets around. My favorites were his appearances with The Nigel Hall Band and Steve Winwood. He also came out with Michael Franti and Karl Denson.
Sometimes a great cover by great musicians is exactly what the doctor ordered and Haynes knows how to deliver. “Gimme Some Lovin'" to close out the festival was perfect.
Muddy waters. The only issues with the festival were the rain and minor amounts of mud. The rain meant that you couldn't sit without a tarp or chair, which is tiring on the legs. The fest is set on a hillside, so it would’ve been nice to be able to rest my feet every now and then.
It also would've been great if the late-nights weren't playing directly against one another. I was forced to pick between EOTO or James Murphy on Friday and then Nigel Hall/Break Science or Lotus.
But if these were the low points, then I can't really compain. It was an amazing weekend
Mountain Jam is generally known for drawing an older crowd. It became extremely apparent on Friday afternoon when the folding chairs at the Main Stages grew to a staggering number – most of this crowd was going to be sitting and listening instead of dancing and moving around.
Many of the younger attendees were camping on the hillside and had a few keys acts in mind when they were planning out their days while the older and wiser folks were happy seeing whoever was at the Main Stages. The late-night acts had an especially younger crowd.
Lotus - "Jump Off"
Ben Folds Five - "Song For The Dumped"
Check out our coverage of all your favorite summer festivals in our 2012 Festival Guide.
What did you think of Mountain Jam? Highlights, lowlights and surprises. Let us know in the comments below.